10% off at Lowe's

April 11, 2007

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I'm not sure, but it looks like if you just give Lowe's your name and address on this site they'll send you a coupon for 10% off. http://www.lowesmoving.com/ Neat.


Size

April 08, 2007

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If you want to mess with your mind a little, load up this flash piece from Nikon that puts the size of things in the perspective of orders of magnitude. It takes a while to load. Also beware that it's set to a static screen size so make sure you can see the bottom where the order of magnitude that you can click on to navigate are visible. I think the part that messed with me the most is when it shows the size of a carbon nano tube which turns out to be smaller than DNA. The messages about boundaries in size are interesting, but they keep showing up which is a little annoying, but it's still amazing to try to think about the sizes.


Chic-fil-a at 10:31

April 07, 2007

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If you have never had a Chic-fil-a chicken biscuit for breakfast, you need to try one. When I first heard about them, it didn't really sound that appetizing, but they are amazing. There isn't a Chic-fil-a even remotely near my path to work so the only day I can really get them is on Saturday since they are closed on Sundays. I'm a slow mover on Saturdays but try to make it there from time to time. A key thing to remember is that they stop serving breakfast at 10:30. I got there about 10:20 today which was cutting it close. By the time I got my order and sat down it was right at 10:30. Over the next 10-15 min I saw eight people come in and try to order chicken biscuits only to be told that breakfast was no longer being served. At least two of the people left instead of ordering off the lunch menu. I've seen this happen a few times before and have done it myself. I can't believe that a manager (or the corporation) hasn't noticed that they have willing customers in the store who are walking out without making a purchase because they can't get what they came for. They are loosing money (and ticking people off) by strictly enforcing their arbitrary cutoff time. There have been several times that I would have gone to a Chic-fil-a for breakfast, but I was cutting it too close and wasn't sure if I could get there before they stopped serving. Since I got burned before, I wasn't willing to risk it. Once again, Chic-fil-a doesn't get my money, and I'll bet there are a bunch of people out there that have the same thought process. All it would take is a smart manager to throw 10 or so biscuits on at say 10:25 to get the carry over. They can still say they stop serving at 10:30 but make sure you have some till about 10:45 to provide a graceful transition. When someone rolls up at 10:35, they can say, "Well, we stop serving breakfast at 10:30, but we've got a few more today." That way, they make the sale, the person realizes they were pushing it, but leaves happy more often than pissed. Everybody wins. And if they end up with a couple that don't sell, which I find unlikely on all but the rare occasion, they would still have made up for it in the number of additional sales and overall customer satisfaction.


Monitor help

April 04, 2007

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I'm looking to get a new monitor for my home system. I want a good LCD one that I can use for photo stuff as well as general computer hacking. There are a ton of options out there and it took some digging, but I finally found a link that has some good info about what the hell all the numbers and specs mean. It's on anandtech which is a site I hadn't actully been to in a long time. When I paid more attention to what was going on in the hardware world it was one of my main sources of info and I have a fair amount of trust in the conversations that go on there. If you scroll way down on that link there is a section for "PROSUMER PHOTO EDITING". I'm avoiding the first two recommendations and planning on going with the third. The 20.1": HP LP2065. I like all the specs on the first one (20.1"w: NEC MultiSync 20WMGX2) except for the "OptiClear contrast coating". I've seen monitors with that before and the glare it creates really irritates me. And the second recommendation of the Samsung (SyncMaster 215TW) has a note about input lag. I don't do much gaming, but any noticible input lag also bugs me. I might not notice it, but it's not worth the risk. I'd kinda prefer a widescreen, but I'm going to be setting up my old 17 lcd in a dual monitor setup so that shouldn't really be an issue.


CF bulbs

March 25, 2007

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My local Home Depot currently has a sale running on Compact Fluorescent bulbs. Six for $10. I've been wanting to get some CF bulbs to try out. I had one when they first came out, but it flickered a little and the color was not very pleasing. That was probably eight or nine years ago. They have come a long way since then. The ones I got were marked to indicate that they had a color range similar to a traditional incandescent bulb and this seems to be pretty much the case. It's a little different, but not at all unpleasant. As far as I can tell, they have no discernible flicker and turn on effectively instantly without any perceived warm up being necessary. One drawback is that the ones I got don't work on dimmers which is unfortunate as I've switched most of my overhead lights to be on dimmer switches. But for the floor lamps and the standard switches are all going to get the CF bulbs. If you are not familiar with them, they fit in the same socket as regular bulbs but use something like 1/3 as much energy and should last about 10 times as long. You can read a little about them here. At some point, I'll get some daylight balanced ones too for my office. A lot of photo office have daylight balanced bulbs for looking at prints. With CF bulbs, you can have that in your house now too. Oh yeah, and they don't get nearly as hot. So, if you are reading in bed and reach to put out the light and accidentally hit the bulb you won't burn yourself nearly as bad. (It'll still hurt and if you leave your skin on the bulb, it'll get ya, but it's not AS bad.)


Mozy backup

March 22, 2007

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You should backup your stuff. It should be automatic. Ideally, it should be at an "off-site" location. Enter Mozy You can backup 2GB of stuff to them for free. Or, you can pay $5/month for unlimited storage. Apparently, they really do mean unlimited. Photographers out there who shoot 5GB worth of images in one shoot, are you listening? Right now, it's Windows only, but there is a Mac version on the way according to their site.


Photoshop Light Room - First Impression

March 20, 2007

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Installed the trial copy of Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom today on my laptop and dropped some test images in from my 5D. I haven't done much with it, but just moving thru the images is a pleasure. It's nice and responsive for quickly moving thru a set of images. Just that is probably enough to make me get a copy. I had been using Adobe's Bridge to look thru my RAW images, and it's just not very quick. It also has a custom name import feature that I like so that I can name the filenames to my spec. For me that is making the file name in a date format: "YYYYMMDD-HHMMSS". For example, "20070223-184203.CR2". While all this data is inside the meta information as well, I like the fact that this effectively produces a unique file name for every image. I need to see if there is a way to add a "-1", "-2", "-3", etc… for times when multiple images get marked with the same second. I haven't seen this yet though. As near as I can tell with the 5D, the timestamp is based on when the file gets finished writing instead of when the image itself was catpures. The camera will shoot 3+ images a second, but it'll take several seconds to write of them. Anyway, first impression is pretty good though I haven't really dug into it yet. I've never really used meta data that much for my stuff. I just save all my shoots in a give directory, but I have a feeling I will start using it more as I play around with lightroom. Adobe has a 30 day trail on their site right now. And for the time being they have lowered the asking price from $299 to $199 for an "introductory offer". Definitely worth a try.


Launchy - quick launch app for Windows

March 18, 2007

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Found this one via Life hacker. The program is Launchy. It's a keyboard quick launcher for windows. The default way to bring it up is by holding down the "Alt" key and hitting the space bar. It pops up and presents you with a text cursor. From there, you start typing the name of the application you want to launch. Usually withing a two or three letters, it'll have what you want and show you its icon. Then just hit "Enter" and the app launches. If you already have your hands on the keyboard, it is much faster than taking one off, grabbing your mouse and searching thru you quick launch bar or under your start menu. Takes a little getting used to, but if you jump around as often as I seem to between software it's very handy.


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